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Tencel Twill Kalle Shirtdress

The denim Tencel Kalle Shirtdress I made last year has become a firm summer favourite. I reach for it every time I want to feel comfortable, especially when those summer temps crawl above 30 degrees Celsius and I still need to leave the house looking somewhat presentable. Because I (probably) can't wear the same dress every single day, I decided to make a couple more Kalle's to help round out my summer wardrobe.

This was my fourth time using the Kalle Shirt and Shirtdress pattern by Closet Case Patterns, and I think I've got a pretty good handle on it by now. I can see my button band and collar insertion skills improving, which is so exciting! There are various options you can choose for this pattern - different lengths, a standard or band collar, an inverted or box pleat - but in the end I made an exact copy of my first dress, because I like it and I'm kind of boring like that.

This version includes a standard collar, front pocket, button band and box pleat at the back. In the post about my first dress I mentioned that the size I made - a size 14 - felt a little big, but after wearing it all last summer I clearly changed my tune (because loose = breezy), so I went for the same size again here. The only modification I made was to lengthen the dress by a couple of inches so it hangs my knees, and even out the front and back pieces so there's a less dramatic high-low hem than originally drafted.

Can I take a moment to appreciate this fabric? I used black Tencel Twill from Blackbird Fabrics, which has been hanging out in my stash for more than a year waiting for the perfect project (the black isn't in stock at the moment, but this is similar). I think this might be my dream fabric. It's easy to work with and has a beautiful drape and a lovely sheen. I finished the dress off with plastic tortoiseshell buttons and a sew-in label from Kylie and the Machine.

Black might not be everyone's first choice for a summer dress, but this fills a big gap in my wardrobe. I surprisingly have very few black dresses, and this is something I can wear right through summer (and layer up with a jacket when it starts to get cooler) and feel comfortable and confident in. That's a winner in my book.

I love this pattern, so you know it's not the last Kalle you'll see around these parts. In fact, I have another to share very soon!

p.s. Apologies these photos are a little grainy ... I'm still trying to work out my indoor photo set-up. I might need a fancier camera!

Winter Sapporo Coat

This coat might be my favourite make, if not ever then at least for the foreseeable future. It's been in constant rotation since completion and despite being on various adventures on (sometimes unsavoury) planes, trains, busses and trams, it still looks as good as the moment it left the machine.

This is of course the Papercut Patterns Sapporo Coat, a cocoon-shaped coat designed for various woven fabrics. While this pattern has been out for a little while, a chance spotting of a sample put the pattern well and truly on my radar, and I couldn't get it out of my head. Plus, Me-Made-May made me realise I had a 'nice winter coat' gap in my wardrobe, and the Sapporo seemed to fit the bill just nicely.

I went for a size small/medium and used a medium-weight wool coating from Super Cheap Fabrics. The fabric is difficult to photograph (photographing indoors in winter is difficult, hence the grainy photos – apologies) but the colour is actually a really dark green with a blue tint and a faint lined texture running through it. You'll just have to trust me when I say it's really lovely, and is like wearing a warm, snuggly, luxurious blanket.

I decided to line my coat in rayon from Spotlight. I was initially going to choose a boring plain lining, but after some aimless wandering spotted this leaf print, which matched the dark green of the coating perfectly. I don't wear prints very often, but I'm so glad I decided to choose a print lining because it brings me so much joy! I can't overestimate how much joy, in fact. The pop of pattern is lots of fun.

This was my first time sewing a Papercut pattern, and my first time making a coat, and while the instructions are great I found it this YouTube sewalong from Jessalli Handmade really helpful. I did end up deviating from the pattern slightly though. After attaching self-lined sleeves I realised two layers of coating was just going to be too bulky and heavy. So, after some guidance from a friend, I decided to unpick and line the sleeves with lightweight fabric instead (although I'd run out of the leaf fabric by then and had to use black rayon). If you're making a winter coat version of this pattern and want some more detail, drop me an email and I'll send you some photos. Other than that I didn't change a thing, although if/when I make this pattern again I'll make the pockets deeper so they better fit my hands/phone/travel card/etc.

While I was unsure a coat with shortish sleeves and no closure would be a suitable for winter, it has been ideal when the weather is clear and the sun is shining. I love the beautiful shape and simple lines of this coat, and feel great wearing it. I also feel like I've unlocked some sewing superpowers recently – first jeans and now a coat! I wonder what else this year will bring?

p.s. The top I'm wearing here is an unblogged Marilla Walker Maya Top in rayon crepe from the Fabric Store.

Black Denim Ginger Jeans

I'm a little ashamed to admit that I had these Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans cut out more than a year ago. I remember carefully preparing all of the pieces and basting the jeans up, only to find them much too big. At the time I didn't have the patience or know-how to fix them, so everything got folded up and put in the too-hard basket (figuratively and literally). Cue forward to 2018, the year I told myself I was going to damn well sew some jeans already and, hey, I finally did it!

If there's one thing that participating in Me-Made-May this year helped me realise it's that I wear a lot of handmade tops with black jeans, and there was a big jeans-shaped hole in my handmade wardrobe (and a big coat-shaped hole, but one thing at a time). So I dug out that pair of Gingers that I'd started long ago, cut them down a couple of sizes and got to work.

Turns out that pretty much fixed the problem of them being too big – silly, impatient past me! I opted for the View B option, with a high waist and skinny legs. I tried on a lot as I was sewing and did make a few modifications as I went, shortening the crotch curve and slimming the fit in the legs, mainly at the knees and ankles. Or at least that's what I think I did – I'm sure my fitting knowledge will develop with the more jeans I sew. Still, I hopefully have a good enough idea of what kind of adjustments I might need to make in future. It's also worth mentioning that the jeans making instructions and sewalong that Heather of Closet Case Patterns prepared for her Ginger Jeans pattern are so detailed. She really does walk you through the steps and explain each process, with plenty of useful hints and tips along the way.

As this was my first attempt at jeans I used a cheap stretch denim, and made my life easy by choosing black topstitching. I purchased this denim a while ago from the Remnant Warehouse. Of course it's long out of stock, but it's a true black denim with a slight brushed feel. I know at the time it was difficult finding dark black stretch denim. I haven't searched for any lately, but if anyone knows of a good source (ideally in Australia), please let me know! I didn't use rivets for this pair (I'll work up to that), but did install a standard gold jeans button. Hammering that button in at the end was a pretty proud moment.

I think I have a little way to go before perfecting jeans, but for a first attempt I'm pretty happy with how they fit and feel. I have some blue denim lined up for my next pair, and can't wait to get started!

P.S. I unconsciously wore double Closet Case Patterns in these photos – pictured here is my Tencel Kalle Shirt.

Linen Cropped Kalle Shirt

When I like a pattern I tend to make multiple versions of it. I realise this might not make for very interesting blog reading, but it does help me take steps towards a very wearable, mix-and-match handmade wardrobe that I love!

This is my latest version of the Closet Case Patterns Cropped Kalle Shirt. This is my fourth iteration of this pattern, and I can't see it being the last, especially when there are so many different options to try. Not that I tried many of them here, admittedly. As with my previous denim Tencel version, I went with the cropped shirt view with collar and button band.

As with my previous version, I lengthened the front and back pieces of the shirt by around 5cm, and added an extra button to account for the longer length. I think I could have gone a little shorter in the back (which you can't really see in these photos - sorry!), so something for me to bear in mind for next time. I also made the collar a bit slimmer - the version in the pattern is a bit big for my liking.

And another repeat - I've only gone and made this in linen from the Fabric Store. Again. Linen is just so nice to wear, and the colours in this range go so well together. It brings me joy to open my cupboard and see my linen garments hanging out together! For this top I used the lightweight military green linen, paired with plastic tortoiseshell buttons from Lincraft. I really like the end result - this is really easy to wear with jeans, and I've been layering with a black Grainline Driftless Cardigan when it's cool.

How about this setting? These photos were taken on holiday in New Zealand's South Island. We stayed in an Airbnb near Queenstown and this was the garden, with views out over the mountains and lake. Stunning! This should also explain the slightly crumpled, pulled-out-of-a-suitcase look ... but hey, I thought I better make use of that background while I could!

Linen Maya Button-up Top

It's been a hectic start to the new year, with family visiting from overseas and a house move, and while my sewing machine sits in a box waiting to get unpacked I thought I'd share a recent make – another linen Maya top!

My white linen Maya Top has become such a wardrobe favourite that I thought I'd make another version. Marilla Walker's Maya pattern comes with a few different options – this is view B, with a button band down the front.

As with my previous version I made a size 4. I added sleeve cuffs and a small pocket, and raised the neckline a touch. I seem to be on a bit of a linen kick lately, but it's so perfect for warm weather sewing. This is made up in some lovely paprika milled linen from the Fabric Store. I finished the top off with some bamboo buttons from Lincraft.

This was my first time sewing a button-up without a collar, and while it was a quick and satisfying sew I think I prefer my first version, without the buttons. Maybe I just miss having a collar? Still, I do really like this pattern, and I love this colour, so I'm sure this top will still get plenty of wear.